U.S. mobile advertising will more than double to $9.6 billion in 2013 from $4.36 billion last year, according to the latest forecast from eMarketer. The new mobile ad estimate is up by $1 billion from the $8.6 billion the research firm predicted in August.
The surging spend on mobile advertising will come at the expense of advertising growth on desktop and laptop computers, which will slow to 1.7% this year from 6.6% in 2012. Still, the more mature PC-based ad market in 2013 will reach nearly $33 billion. Overall, U.S. digital ad spending across all devices will grow 15.7% to $42.6 billion.
In 2014, eMarketer projects total spending on desktop ads will increase by just 0.4%, while mobile ad spending will grow another 56% to nearly $15 billion.
By 2016, spending on mobile will nearly pull even with that on the desktop -- and in 2017 it will sail past, at $35.6 billion compared to $27.2 billion on PCs.
The upward revision for mobile ad spending stems from a much faster-than-expected shift of revenue from desktop to mobile especially among major Internet players like Google and Facebook, as well as from updated forecasts from investment banks and research firms analyzed by eMarketer.
The firm does see some rapid growth potential for some desktop ad formats -- notably in brand-friendly and lucrative categories, such as video and sponsorships. But nearly all the increased spending in search, banners, and rich media will flow toward mobile. Mobile search advertising in 2013 will have grown 118%, mobile banners, 155%, and rich media, 96%.
On the desktop, by contrast, eMarketer expects search spending to decline 1.4% this year, while display will grow just 3.8%, buoyed by double-digit growth in sponsorship and video spending, along with lead generation remaining a bright spot.
While 2013 may be the last year of triple-digit growth from mobile advertising, as the base total each year increases, platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are either launching, or continuing to expand their mobile ad offerings, eMarketer notes. That should help mobile maintain a healthy upward trajectory.